Class Solidarity & the Class Struggle
One of the greatest weapons that workers and oppressed people possess against the bosses and capitalists is our unity. When Marxists speak or write about proletarian solidarity, working class solidarity and international solidarity, they mean the complete unity of interest of all the peoples oppressed and exploited by capitalism. It is only by coming together in solidarity — it is only through closing ranks against the common enemy — that any victory has ever been won by the masses of people.
Working-class solidarity is present in every picket, every union action, every strike and any time workers take a stand against the bosses. If workers go on strike, only a scab or a boss will cross the picket line, while all workers who feel solidarity with each other refuse. Workers formed trade unions and continue to organize into unions today out of the knowledge that only through banding together in solidarity can even the slightest improvement be gained in working conditions, wages, job security, and so forth. Whenever a struggle breaks out, workers in unions and other progressive people from the community will come to the aid and defense of the workers who have gone out on strike, occupied their factory, or taken other decisive action, in order to strengthen the class struggle against the bosses. This solidarity of the workers is the biggest threat threat to the capitalists.
The bosses attempt to break up and destroy working-class solidarity by dividing the poor and working people against each other. They use sexism to turn men against women workers. They try to break the multinational unity of the working class by dividing white workers and people of color, and further at- tempt to pit Black and Brown workers against one another. Using xenophobic hysteria, bosses attempt to turn U.S.-born workers against immigrant workers. Bosses will also try to divide straight and lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer (LGBTQ) workers. Nonetheless, the solidarity of the world working class and oppressed peoples has often defeated the attempts of the capitalist to trick working people into fighting against one another. U.S. workers showed solidarity with the people of Iraq fighting against U.S. imperialism when, on May Day 2008, workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union went on strike to protest the war on Iraq. Similarly, Greek longshore workers blocked a shipment of U.S. arms and munitions to Israel during the U.S.-Israeli siege on Gaza in early 2009.
The boycott of Mt. Olive pickles by millions of people in the U.S. who support the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, when workers were struggling for higher wages and better working conditions, is an act of working-class solidarity.
Real working-class solidarity can only be achieved, and real unity won, when solidarity is based on the liberation of all people from the shackles of capitalist society. This means, for example, that male workers must actively fight against sexism and for the rights of women workers; white workers must struggle against racism and national oppression, and for the full rights of Black and Brown workers.
Workers need class solidarity that unites with the struggles for national liberation, women’s liberation, LGBTQ liberation, and the struggles of immigrant workers for full rights, to win the liberation of all oppressed and exploited by capitalism through the worldwide socialist revolution. This is the greatest act of working class solidarity and is the only thing that will bring an end to the capitalist system of profit and exploitation once and for all, and that will ultimately wipe out all oppression. There can be no class struggle without class solidarity.
- Anti-racist solidarity & the class struggle – by Monica Moorehead
- The Working Class and the National Question – by V.I. Lenin. “Class-conscious workers stand for full unity among the workers of all nations in every educational, trade union, political, etc., workers’ organization.”
- The Question of Nationalities or “Autonomisation” by V.I. Lenin, on the question of oppression and working class unity